happy holidays

i had my 24-week checkup this morning. it was brief and everything went well. i’ve been keeping track of my weight gain like i did for penny, and i’ve gained 6.3 lb. so far. at this point with penny, i had gained 10.7 lb. and 18 lb. overall, right up until penny was born. i thought i would gain more during my second pregnancy but it’s not over yet so we will see how big this little boy grows.

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the ob measured my fundus (part of the uterus) to determine growth rate. it measured at 23cm which is fine because i’m at week 24. you want the measurements to be around the same as the number of weeks you’re pregnant, so i’m about a week behind which is still great. i have a long torso so i know the baby has a lot of room in there. this is also the reason why i haven’t shown until about a few weeks ago.

my next appointment will be the 28-week checkup where i have to take a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. i’m not worried about this one at all since my blood pressure is excellent and my weight gain has been minimal. plus, i was fine with penny. the only annoying thing is drinking this sugary orange drink in under 5 minutes.

with that said, these weeks are flying by; much more faster than when i was pregnant with penny. my friend and neighbor, yan, is expecting her second (also a boy!) on january 12th but she said she is already 4cm dilated so the baby could come any day now. it’s exciting and comforting to be going through my second pregnancy with friends who are also expecting their second around the same time. now we have to learn how to adjust to taking care of a newborn while also having a rambunctious toddler around. i’m eager to receive valuable tips from friends that are due before me, but i’m also grateful knowing that i will have lots of help from family members as well.

it was a busy christmas this year: we traveled to boston to celebrate with my family and then came back christmas eve so we could go to church on christmas morning. penny got baptized along with our friends’ son, ethan, and then we opened gifts in the early evening with dennis’ parents.

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homemade meal upon our arrival!

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penny’s baptism

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opening gifts

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she also received another baby doll for christmas (from my mom). this one i picked out: baby says “mama” when you squeeze her hand and she sucks on the magnetic pacifier when you place it on her mouth. penny knows how to do both.

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i forgot i bought her two wooden puzzles and a pizza kit so i gave them to her the following day

to top it off, i won fantasy football this year! i limped into the playoffs as the #8 seed (out of 12) and basically had no hope of even advancing into the next round. my first and second picks this year were rob gronkowski and dez bryant – both were huge disappointments this year although dez sealed the win for me in the end with a great game. most of my lineup were waiver wire pickups as well so it was amazing how i came back to win it all. this is my first victory after having been a runner-up a few times (most recently, last year) so i feel even more triumphant.

it has been hard to keep track of all the of the things penny has been learning because it’s at such a faster pace now. she’s saying more and more words. a few weeks ago she had added 뽀뽀 (kiss), 멍멍 (puppy), ball, wow, and 이모 (aunt) to her vocabulary, and most recently she has added “no more”, “one more”, “all done” (she only used to gesture), and 지지 (dirty). she is also sorting her colors by putting matching colors together. as one of her christmas gifts, i got her do-a-dot markers and she likes to screw the caps back on to the markers by herself. she correctly places the matching colored cap on the marker and twists it on! during bath time, she also places the colorful dolphin toys into their matching colored tubes.

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new straw cup

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braving the cold to get some fresh air!

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on my way home from my ob appointment today, a house had free toys set out on the curb so i took a coffee maker and this big rig auto transport.

penny’s top molars have broken through! i only noticed them a few days ago when i was changing her diaper and she was yelling/talking. currently she has 5 teeth but her top lateral incisors have been trying to poke their way through for almost a month now! she is a very slow teether. xD at 19 months it looks like she will soon have 9 teeth; but it seems that she’ll be closer to 20 months by the time they fully come in.

i can’t believe it’ll already be 2017 (year of the rooster) in a few short days. i’m excited to see what the new year brings (besides a baby boy!

  • i plan on adding more photos (52 total!) little by little. i just really want to post this entry before penny’s nap is up and the pictures take forever!

 

penny’s first christmas

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penny in her playroom


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she loves yogurt!

’twas a very merry christmas!

i was so excited to celebrate our first christmas as a family because it’s such an important, and festive, holiday.

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playing with the gift the so grandparents got her


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one of her many gifts: a ball pit!


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thank you, jennie and kaylee, for the adorable headband!


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looks so much cuter with hair!

christmas is also my mom’s birthday. it’s rough having your birthday fall on the biggest holiday of the year and sharing it with jesus so we try to make it special for my mom. my parents came down for dinner on christmas eve, and we went out to eat with dennis’ parents as well. my mom is very selfless and doesn’t ask for much so i know she was overjoyed when we surprised her with a cake – strawberry cheesecake from vernon diner to be specific.

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i love you, mom! happy birthday ❤

taking advantage of being able to spend time with us, my mom practically held penny the entire time. she and my mil took turns feeding penny her bottle and butternut squash with pear.

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entertaining herself during dinner


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before we left for dinner

so much good happens in my life, and as every year draws to a close i wonder how next year can even possibly be on the same level, or even better, than this one. but every year has been better than the last.

2015 was no exception and is probably the most important year of my life since i became a mommy to a healthy, vivacious, happy, and beautiful baby girl. it’s hard to believe penny’s already 7.5 months. with each passing day, i’m in awe of what she knows and can do. for example, today she began saying “da da da.” she had been saying, “ba ba ba” for some time now but has been more vocal the past few days. she also has been screeching and yelling (while smiling) because she can.

penny also gave us a wonderful gift: sleeping on her own. we’ve been rocking penny to sleep since she was born. as she got heavier and heavier we have been wondering how long we would have to do this for. we knew we would have to start sleep training but i, in particular, was nervous about this daunting task. do we try the “cry it out” method? what do we do? it turns out we didn’t have to do anything except put her down.

when researching on sleep training i kept reading “put baby down ‘drowsy but awake'” and thought, “yeah, right.. penny will never sleep like that.” we were too afraid to risk it, and honestly penny probably wasn’t ready. until three days ago.

around 6 months, penny transitioned to a 2-nap day and her awake time has been slowly increasing. currently, penny’s on track to being on the 2-3-4 schedule. if you don’t know what that is, it means your baby’s awake period is 2 hours before first nap, 3 hours before second nap, and 4 hours before bedtime. for quite some time, penny’s awake time was 2 hours before each nap and then, maybe, 3 until bedtime. we have been slowly increasing the increments in her awake time while still following her sleepy cues.

we also noticed that if her second nap was a half hour and gave her a third nap, she wouldn’t fall asleep as easily for bedtime. therefore if she ever had a “disaster nap” for the second nap we would put her to bed a little earlier.

this website was so helpful in helping me figure out penny’s schedule. yes, all babies are different but the “sleep lady” was on point for penny’s needs. we don’t let penny sleep longer than 2 hours for any nap and we are mindful of her awake time.

back in november, penny was sleeping 10-hour stretches which were wonderful but also driving us crazy because she would be awake and ready to go at 4am. she would play for an hour or even more and finally end up falling asleep again. thankfully, she had learned how to self-soothe by then so she wasn’t crying for us but i would lie awake wondering if i would have to tend to her or not. on one of the nights penny would not fall asleep i told dennis to turn off the night light on the video monitor. we were skeptical, but it worked! with the room pitch-black, penny soon fell asleep! now we knew why she had had a hard time falling back asleep: as she became more aware of her surroundings, the night light distracted her and kept her from sleeping even though she was tired.

one of the other reasons for her early-morning wake-ups was that penny had started waking up around 6am or earlier so by the end of the day she would want to go to bed around 5:30! it was stressful trying to make her stay up until, at least, 6pm so she wouldn’t wake up so early the next day. (now that penny has a set schedule i see that she was trying to fully transition to 2 naps and we had to fiddle with her awake time.)

some days she slept even longer, until 5am, but then would not fall back asleep because.. face it, 11 hours straight is pretty dang good. that’s a well-rested baby. but again, with time, and with the increase in her awake time penny has been waking up after 6am and sleeping after 6pm.

i was pretty satisfied with penny’s progress until she threw me for a loop three nights ago. even though penny was tired, she would not sleep. i rocked her for 3 hours.. is that crazy or what?! every time i put her in the crib, her eyes would fly open. it was obvious she was ready to pass out because every time i picked her back up her eyes would immediately close. finally, out of frustration, exhaustion, and hunger i placed her in the crib around 9:40pm and walked downstairs.

as i ate a very late dinner and watched the monitor, penny fussed and played for ten minutes and then fell asleep. i couldn’t believe it. first of all, she had been on her side in the merlin suit and fell asleep like that! and second, there was no pacifier and no one to soothe her.. she just.. fell asleep.

thinking it was just a fluke and that she had just been exhausted from being up so long, dennis tried rocking her for her morning nap the next day. but, penny would wake up whenever he put her down. finally he came downstairs to see if she would fall asleep on her own AND SHE DID! penny has been telling us she’s ready to fall asleep by herself.. and we are ECSTATIC that we don’t have to rock her anymore.

sleep is such a beautiful, beautiful thing… and penny has been sleeping 11 straight hours without us having to tend to her. we still can’t believe it. of course, all will change when her teeth finally come in.. and the 8-month sleep regression is quickly approaching but we are SO enjoying this right now! and we are so proud that penny has been able to figure out how to sleep on her own. we are finally feeling more rested, and happier because of it too.

sweet dreams, penny.

keep on rollin’

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penny before church. she kicked her shoe off.

the above picture is how i felt all of last week. dennis works 7 straight days biweekly and those weeks are tough for both of us. last week felt dreadfully long as i tended to penny mostly by myself from monday-sunday. it’s not even just being stir-crazy from being holed up in the house but also constantly battling sleep deprivation. normally i can count on penny’s second nap to be 2~3 hours long. i really look forward to this nap so i can eat as much (and quickly) as i can and try to get some shut-eye myself. however, this whole 4-month sleep regression has thrown everything off – sometimes she’ll wake up after a half hour and scream.. so i’ll have to lug myself upstairs to try to put her back down. if she does end up falling back asleep it’s only for another half hour or so.

i knew it was pretty bad at one point when i was nodding off, in broad daylight, while bottle-feeding penny. my eyes would fly open to see penny staring curiously at me. i felt terrible that penny had to see like that but that’s how tired i’ve been lately. for the most part, she’s been getting back on track with her nighttime sleep schedule. she still wakes up once a night but that’s typical of babies her age (and a whole lot better than the multiple wakings we had been experiencing recently!) the past two nights have been unusual because she skipped her third nap. though we tried pushing up her bedtime she still fought sleep (no crying, at least) and had been awake for 3~4 hours!

every day is an adventure…

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lately whenever penny wakes up, this is what we see on the baby monitor. she hasn’t rolled over from back to tummy yet but she’s trying in earnest even with the merlin sleep suit on! once she starts rolling over in the suit, we have to stop using it. definitely dreading when that day comes. we will have to start sleep training her soon… only to have it thrown off once she starts teething, has the 6-month growth spurt and starts sitting up… it never ends!!!

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look how cute she is, haha. she’s looking at yuri in this picture. what we do is try to grab her attention using toys and encouragement. she almost has gotten the hang of it; she just needs to figure out how to throw her back leg over to roll.

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penny gets captivated by yuri. i’m sure yuri is an intriguing sight, what with all that fur and physical features so different from ours.

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here she is, practicing again. she seems to prefer her left side. i think this is because she’s drawn to her bedroom window. though we try to keep her room as dark as possible light still filters in and it attracts her attention. often times when i’m rocking her to sleep, she’ll try to face the window so i turn my body to accommodate her.

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this is a common sight nowadays

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dennis and i had been looking to get more toys for penny so she won’t be bored, and he suggested ‘once upon a child.‘ if you haven’t heard of this store, it’s a nationwide chain that buys/sells gently used baby and children’s clothing, toys, books, and gear. i couldn’t believe the racks and racks of clothes! we actually purchased a hoodie and bottom set for penny’s halloween costume (it’s a secret; you’ll see in a future post.)

after carefully perusing the toy section, i chose a bright starts activity ball and the classic xylophone. i washed them both with warm water and soap before letting penny play with them. she especially loves the activity ball because it’s easy for her to grasp. she does like the sounds the xylophone makes and grips the mallet, but isn’t yet able to hit the plates on her own. she whacked herself on the head accidentally and cried >.<

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at penny’s 4-month check-up, we were told that we could slowly start introducing penny to solids. initially i was hesitant because i wanted to wait until she’s 6 months old, but it really wouldn’t hurt for her to get acclimated to the tastes and textures of solids. plus. she’s been consuming nearly 30 oz. of breast milk recently and still wakes up hungry once a night. furthermore, she’s been showing great interest in food and stops what she’s doing to watch me eat.

i’ve been giving penny a spoon so she can get used to it.

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hm.. doesn’t taste good

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how adorable is she? 🙂

mother-daughter moment at church

mother-daughter moment at church

penny will be 5 months on thursday. my beautiful baby girl will already be 5 months. every time i try to savor each smile, each new skill, each sweet embrace, time flies by that much quicker. i love you so much, penny!!

it ain’t over ’til it’s over

remember how i had declared, with much relief, that penny’s sleep regression seemed to have ended? yes, well, forget that, because it’s still in progress. after talking about the sleep regression with my friend, jisun (언니) at church yesterday, she confirmed that the regression can come and go – one night your baby will sleep wonderfully and then the next time she will have multiple wakings.

an important thing that i need to keep reminding myself: penny is just a baby.

watching yuri, our dog.

watching yuri, our dog.

she loves feeling different textures

she loves feeling different textures

she doesn’t intend to wake up, and stay awake for hours. she’s exhausted too – this is obvious because she makes up for lost sleep during the day – and is still trying to figure out how to transition to the different sleep cycles. sometimes she’s successful, and other times she’s not.

saturday night, for instance. she woke up at 1:30am and was moving around, but didn’t cry.. and her eyes were still closed. i was pumping so i let her be. she became more and more agitated that she couldn’t fall back asleep and began crying and trying to self-soothe by putting her hand in her mouth. when her cries escalated, i finally attended to her at 2:30am. she had been trying for an hour to fall back asleep! i ended up rocking her for AN HOUR AND A HALF. during this time, penny’s eyes were wide open but she was quiet. my chronic cough hasn’t gone away and my throat started to tickle, threatening to wake penny up. i put penny down too early because her eyes flew open and i had to start the rocking process over again. by the time she fell asleep at 4am, it was time to pump again!!!!! as i finished pumping, she woke up! this time she was hungry, and had a very wet diaper. she downed 5.5 ounces and when i rocked her, she fell asleep and stayed asleep for over 4 hours.

the first time that i tried putting penny down in her crib, i had noticed that her diaper was full but didn’t want to further stimulate her by changing it so i left it alone. in hindsight, it’s possible she woke up because she was uncomfortable, and that made her realize she’s hungry too.. who knows? again, she’s just a baby. she’s not waking up to annoy us. this is my mantra that i’ll just have to keep repeating to myself when i find myself getting agitated during these frequent wakings.

out of desperation, i had been googling about the 4-month-old sleep regression the past few weeks. a great blog post i came across is found here: help! my 4-5 month old is sleeping like a newborn again!

this post helped me understand what penny is going through developmentally, and empathize with her. around 4 months of age, the “fourth trimester” ends (the first three months of a baby’s life is referred to as the “fourth trimester” because those months are like an extension of life inside the womb.) and suddenly, the entire world is opened up before their eyes. anything, and everything, is fascinating and you may find (like i did) that your baby is highly distracted to even eat which results in night wakings up make up the calories.

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penny has been pursing her lips a lot 🙂

taken just before we left for church this morning

taken just before we left for church sunday morning

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what i also liked about this post is that the writer reassures us, the parents, that we aren’t doing anything wrong. it’s easy to blame ourselves when we are up for the fourth time in just as many hours trying to put the baby back to bed. just like how i had thought if i had changed penny’s diaper, she would’ve slept longer… maybe, maybe not.. she IS going through a sleep regression so she could have woken up around the same time even if she had a dry diaper.

just keep doing what you have been doing: feed/nurse (if necessary) and comfort them. this, too, shall pass. babies especially need you during this challenging time. another helpful point to remember is that soon your baby will be crawling, then walking, and then running… sometimes the days can drag on but as a collective time really flies by… as you cradle your wide-eyed child at 3am, try to keep in mind that she won’t “need” you as much as she gets older and learns how to self-soothe. she won’t hug you for no reason or cling by your side.. she’ll want to be with her friends, or play games on her ipad instead of wanting to be held by her mom. though difficult to appreciate now, please try to cherish these moments with your sweet little baby.

i’m talking to you, jax.

weekend fun

think the worst of the sleep regression has subsided. I really don’t want to jinx it but the past few nights have been penny waking up at her “normal” hours – once a night. this is, of course, excluding last night.

penny had her 4-month vaccines on friday afternoon. i learned this after the fact but it’s advisable to schedule vaccines after 1:30pm so your baby can sleep through the discomfort at night. penny’s appt was at 2:30. she cried a little bit but stopped immediately when dennis picked her up. she was her usual self too just a little quiet. she also ended up sleeping fine that night, but her naps the next day were affected. it was obvious that she was exhausted but she took 4 half-hour naps on saturday. the short naps ended up disrupting her nighttime sleep as because she woke up at 11:40pm last night and it took two tries to put her down. (I finally succeeded at 12:20am.) Then, she woke up at 2:20am so dennis fed her, but she didn’t end up falling asleep until 4:30am!

a little out of it after the vaccines

a little out of it after the vaccines

we weren’t sure if we would be able to make it to church today on account of everyone being tired. but when i put penny down for her morning nap – knowing it’d last a half hour – we scrambled to get ready by taking turns showering, dressing, and getting penny’s diaper bag and other essentials ready to load into the car. lo and behold, penny woke up at the half-hour mark but we were able to go to church! anddddd she was so good today. we made sure to feed her (during service) and kept her preoccupied with toys and a stroller fan blowing on her. (it was really stuffy in the room.) she became a little fussy because she was tired but i changed her diaper in the bathroom and walked around with her in the hallway to give her a break, and fresh air. she was content and let my friend, grace, hold her while dennis and i ate lunch.

full belly = happy baby

full belly = happy baby

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now we’re home and watching the patriots! well, dennis was watching the patriots.. but he ended up taking a nap with yuri so currently i’m the only one awake in this house.

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this past weekend was dennis’ weekend off. he has a 3-day weekend every other weekend and i look forward to them (maybe as much as he does!) for family bonding time and, naturally, the assistance with penny. yesterday when penny struggled with her naps and we couldn’t catch a break, we tag-teamed by taking turns napping while the other fed, played, and put penny down for a nap.

there was a small farm fair near our neighborhood yesterday and after penny’s first nap we walked over to check it out. we ate hot dogs, checked out homemade crafts and wares, and brought home fresh microgreens from the greenhouse.

there were also two alpacas. one saw yuri and kept craning her neck around her own to take a better look at her 😀 it was hilarious. the alpaca even came closer to inspect yuri more carefully and yuri didn’t like it at all!

makes me think of

makes me think of “the emperor’s new groove”, one of my favorite disney movies

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thursday was also our friend, john’s 30th birthday and we celebrated at sushi house, an all-you-can-eat sushi joint! he and my friend, alice, are set to wed next year and dennis is the best man 🙂

as usual, i was nervous about going out but penny ended up being fine (since we already put her down for the night). in my last post, i talked about socializing more and going out. it felt refreshing to catch up with friends and have “me” time.

happy birthday!

happy birthday!

although i don’t like to place penny on her back for too long because she’s in that position most of the time due to naps and bedtime, i have been laying her down on occasion to try and encourage her to roll from back to tummy.

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penny’s still napping (2 hours exactly so far) so i should take advantage and see if i can manage some shut-eye myself. hopefully the next time i post, penny’s sleep regression will have ended!

*edit – just as i saved this post, penny woke up, crying..but fell back asleep. Whew..